ATLANTA — Georgia state troopers are preparing for patrols during the peak travel times this coming holiday weekend.
The 78-hour Memorial Day holiday travel period begins today at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight on Memorial Day. Col. Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said troopers will be conducting road checks, high visibility patrols, and concentrated patrols across the state during the holiday period watching for impaired drivers, seat belt use violators, and other traffic violations that could potentially cause a traffic crash.
Col. McDonough said troopers will not only be patrolling the interstates but the secondary roads as well. During the 2012 Memorial Day weekend, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 326 traffic crashes that resulted in 278 injuries and six traffic fatalities.
Statewide last year, law enforcement officers reported 16 traffic deaths during the holiday period.
“We want to make holiday travel as safe as possible,” he added.
In addition to the traffic crash investigations last year, troopers arrested 301 people for driving under the influence while issuing 6,621 citations and 9,321 warnings.
Troopers report that speed, a lack of occupant protection use, and impaired drivers are the leading contributing factors in a majority of the fatal traffic crashes that they investigate. While traveling this weekend, motorists should be alert, patient, and courteous to one another to help prevent crashes.
Traffic will be heavier than normal due to traffic from graduation ceremonies, festivals and vacation travelers adding to the normal weekend traffic flow.
Col. McDonough reminded all drivers to make sure that everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seat belt, to obey the posted speed limit, and to use a designated driver if the consumption of alcoholic beverages will be in your plans.
“Drunk driving is dangerous and not worth the risk of killing yourself or someone else,” he said. “Remember the purpose and celebrate during the holiday period responsibly. Always keep safety at the forefront of everything you will do.”
The highest number of traffic deaths on Georgia roads during the Memorial Day holiday weekend occurred in 2005 when 32 people were killed in holiday crashes. The lowest number was recorded in 1979 when 10 people were killed. The Georgia Department of Transportation Crash Reporting Unit began keeping statistics on Memorial Day travel in 1969.